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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Clovers' injury-plagued season ends in sectional opener

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

(Photo)
Cloverdale senior Tika Byrd concluded her high school career Monday, going 2-for-2 with a double and an RBI.
LIZTON -- For the first half of the first inning Monday night, it looked as though Cloverdale might makes some noise much the same way they did last season en route to their sectional title. However, this season was plagued by injury, which thrust young players into starting positions, and on Monday, that youth showed itself.

After posting a run to begin the game, the Clovers were then held scoreless, while Cascade scored easily and won the opening game of the Tri-West Softball Sectional 11-1 in five innings.

The Clovers got on the board in the first inning after senior Tika Byrd smacked a double to left-center field to score fellow senior Elizabeth Wiley, who had reached on an error. But as the high of scoring the game's first run overtook them, they were quickly brought back to reality by a lively Cascade offense.

The Cadets sent 12 batters to the plate in the bottom of the first, produced eight runs and left little doubt the Clovers would need to dig deep if they were to come back from Cascade's offensive onslaught.

For Cloverdale head coach Kim Bailey, it's all a matter of mental toughness -- not the fact that her team doesn't have it, but more an issue of honing it to work for her younger players.

"It affected them a lot," Bailey said of Cascade's big first inning. "We have a couple of young girls that have a tough time with that sort of thing. You get on them and it's all mental with them. Physically, they can do all the stuff; I've seen them do it. It's all the mental aspect of the game and once it's in their head, then it's hard for them. It's like a trickle effect; everybody's making an error somewhere. This is that last game of the season and the first time we got 10-runned."

Cascade was able to add three more runs in the bottom of the second inning, giving them their 10-run cushion, which they rode for the remainder of the game.

The biggest obstacle the Clovers had to overcome Monday wasn't the power of the Cascade offense, but making routine plays. Again, Bailey indicated that it was a byproduct of the mental part of the game and simply having faith in their abilities.

"They just have to believe in themselves," she said. "And with all the problems we've had this season, a lot of them are playing in spots they've never played in before. They first have to come out and believe they can do it and that takes a while. (And to) especially come out in the middle of a varsity season, to be stuck at second base or as a freshman be put at third base or as freshman be put on the mound or in left field. Those are key spots on the team, and on the field, and as freshmen it's really hard.

"They haven't built their skills up yet. They're coming from Little League or something to here and it's a very different ballgame. We've just had to take this team from the middle of the season and go back to square one," Bailey added.

Byrd led the team with a 2-for-2 performance at the plate, with a double and the team's only RBI. Despite the loss in the first round of sectional, Bailey couldn't have been more pleased with her team and its strides this season.

"I will have to say I am very proud of these girls because they have come in and won some games after our injuries. We won 4-out-of-8 games before this. They went on a roll and they were looking good and responded well to each other. This one was a hard one," Bailey said.

At Tri-West

Class 2A No. 46 Sectional

Cloverdale 100 00 -- 1 4 5

Cascade 830 0x -- 11 10 1

WP -- Bridges

LP -- Raisor

3B -- Wichman (CAS)

2B -- Byrd (CHS); Wichman (CAS), Sallee (CAS)